By Antonio Montalvan II
In a recent event of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts held in a big provincial city, the mayor began his speech by wanting to acknowledge the NCCA but fell short of it. He could not remember what NCCA meant. He tried to but stopped midway when he realized NCCA was not the National Institute for Cultural “… er, never mind.” Actually, that would have been progress enough compared to those who still refer to the commission as the NCAA. So much for American student athletics.
A country’s cinema should encompass the aspirations and experiences of its people. And to be truly representative, a country’s cinema needs to be sufficiently geographically diverse. This is still to be desired in the Philippines, where the theaters, when they aren’t saturated by Hollywood blockbusters, are by and large dominated by the products of monolithic Metro Manila studios. To be sure, independent filmmakers are making a dent, and their works, long or short, fictional or documentary, have reached an impressive level of quality. Still, when one considers the major film events, by CineManila, Cinemalaya, Cinema One Originals, or the tellingly named Metro Manila Film Festival, it becomes obvious that the Philippines’ filmic output remains largely Manila-centric.